Chapter 13 – Motherly Concern
Opening the door, Eve was rife with concern. No matter what Dillan had told her for hours last night, as a mother how could she not worry over her only son?
She had considered sneaking off to see if Haru was truly okay but Dillan had stopped her with amusement and worry. She’d waited 24 hours and she was already bordering the line of concern and obsession. ‘He’s too young. He’s not sturdy enough. He has a weak bloodline, he’s not ready! They’re putting too big a weight on his shoulders! There’s no need for this. Absolutely no need’ she kept telling herself.
Immediately upon seeing Haru her aggrieved heart let out a sigh of joy. She pulled him closer by his hands to carefully inspect him.
“Ouch.” He tried to stifle the pain but it was evident from one touch his arms seemed to be bothering him.
“Oh gods. He, he did this to you?” tears that she’d held back for too long were now streaming down her face. One touch was all it took for her to feel and understand the condition of his body. At an instant she understood Dillan had down played the situation, in only a day she never expected her son would suffer so much in the care of one of their closest friends.
The tormentor in question stood behind them a bit awkwardly but in his right mind enough to not say a word.
Haru shook his head “He didn’t do anything to me mom. I was training and was too focused that I didn’t realize what condition I was in, but I passed! Uncle Erith agreed to take me as a disciple from now on! Isn’t that wonderful?? I’m going to be strong!”
“Yes yes, I’m really happy for you” Eve patted Haru’s head with a gentle smile and pulled him into a long hug but as she did her expression turned icy as she glared at Erith.
Feeling a prickling on his skin Erith turned the other way pretending he didn’t notice.
They entered the house and Erith explained that from this day forward, Haru was to come and train with him for four hours after school. It would not be an easy schedule, but it would ensure his success and give him the time to catch up to some of the children who began down this path at a much younger age.
Haru went off to speak with Lily. After entering the house, she nearly tackled him in her joy to see him. It had been the first time she could remember not having her big brother there with her when she woke up.
Inside of their room he discussed all of the hard work he’d done yesterday and how he had been accepted as a disciple. “Did you know I passed a super hard test yesterday? I’m not exactly sure how I passed it, but I did! Now I can start training and eventually become a swordsman!”
Lily nodded her little head with big eyes as she listened to her big brother tell his story.
“Is big brother going to become really strong?”
Haru nodded in response “Of course I am! I am going to be so strong you can brag about me to all your friends! Just wait and see. I promise!”
Noticing that he was only speaking without making an gestures to move his arms at all Lily pointed at him and asked “Is something wrong with your arms?”
Haru was a little surprised she noticed, but thinking about how insightful his mother is he gave it no second thought “You really take up after mom hehe” he grinned at her.
“I just trained really hard, so my body is kinda sore. Especially my arms.”
Since they were sitting on their beds, Haru was beginning to feel tired out. He had spent the rest of the day meditating laying down while at Erith’s and now that he was home, finally on his moderately soft bed, the tired feeling of exhaustion was finally beginning to overcome him.
“Hmm don’t worry! I’ll protect you while you sleep!” He could barely hear Lily’s childish voice as he fell into a deep slumber.
He smiled at her words though as they brought him some comfort at the very thought.
Only a few minutes later did Eve come in to check up on Haru to find him passed out with a smile on his face on his bed with Lily asleep and drooling in her own bed.
Eve walked out of the bedroom and let Dillan deal with Erith. Although he was a friend of the both of them, at this moment she made it very clear he was not welcome.
Erith took it as a kindness that she had told Dillan to politely tell him to “get out” as opposed to the kind of methods she may have used in the past when her temper flared up. He graciously left on the spot without so much as a word of complaint leaving on the words “Talk her into it” leaving the task of placating Eve on Dillan’s shoulders once again.
“Out of the question! No matter what you say, I won’t allow it. I won’t let Haru train under him if these are the methods he’s going to use!” Eve was yelling but even so Dillan considered it her restraining herself.
He waited until she finished shouting trying to find the right words to reply in order to prevent himself from making things any worse inwardly cursing Erith’s name.
“Our son is strong Eve. Give him the opportunity to grow, to flourish, to let his inner strength turn into tangible strength. No man has ever been forged through coddling, only by being slowly tempered can steel be made.” Dillan said with some strain in his voice.
“If we leave it to him, he’s just going to take it even further and make it worse than we had it! Is that what you want?” Eve yelled at Dillan.
“I know. I don’t want to see our son hurt any more than you, but we had it bad. Erith had it worse, and even so look at us now. If he doesn’t bear these hardships now, he’ll only have worse ones to face in the future. Let him bear them now, with our support, with Erith’s supervision. With guidance and love.” Dillan urged her pleading his case.
“Erith has never been willing to take a disciple. Why is he suddenly so dead set on Haru? Why can’t it be someone else?”
“Isn’t it our blessing that he is? Who better to teach him than Erith? If you calm down long enough, you’ll realize this is a blessing. It’s luck, ours and Haru’s.”
Eve was crying with her face in her hands trying to sort out her thoughts. Dillan had given her space, and he could tell it was only concern driving her, but concern wasn’t going to make her choose the right path.
Walking up behind her, he began to rub her back and lowered his voice to a near whisper “I didn’t mention this yesterday because you were too focused on whether he was hurt or not… Yesterday when Erith came and told me the news, he didn’t just tell me he was willing to accept Haru as his disciple. He swore an oath to protect and guide. A Blood oath.”
Finally, Eve was moved. Dillan had known that yesterday it would have fallen on deaf ears, but now that Haru was back safe and sound, he was going for the kill.
“Why? For us?”
“No!” his word came out louder than he meant.
“He told me that our son is unusually gifted. He went so far as to use the word “genius” which you should know is not easy praise uttered by him. That he has talent sufficient that with proper guidance, our son is bound to surpass him in the way of the sword. Surpass *him* honey. *him*”
He emphasized the word “him” because he wanted to drive that point home. Eve knew just as well as him what those words meant and what Erith’s true standing was. He wouldn’t speak words he didn’t mean, and he certainly wouldn’t embellish, if he’d said those words he meant them. The meaning behind it was just too much to take all at once.
“Just… Let Haru choose his path. If he decides it’s too much, we’ll let him stop. If he decides to follow it down the rabbit hole, then we can only support and help the best we can.”
Eve was shaking her head, but there were no tears left. Her silence was already her form of acquiescing and Dillan knew it.